Take Your Time
DISCLAIMER: Most of the characters are the property of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. No copyright infringement intended. A few minor characters of my own making will show up now and then. < > indicate thoughts and/or feelings
The following day, Willow was very restless. According to Spike, Darla had arrived in town just before sunrise that day, and would probably attempt to turn Angelus tonight. The plan was simple. Willow would keep Angelus company the next few days, making sure he was never alone on the streets of Galway at night. They figured it wouldn't be too hard, but just in case Willow had decided she was capable of faking a sprained ankle, knowing that Angelus would stay by her side. Meanwhile, Spike would keep tabs on the female vampire, and if necessary befriend her and convince her it was time to head to the next town. That was a last resort though, since they didn't want to take the chance of Darla recognizing him some 50 years later.
"Let's have a toast," Spike said, slamming a bottle of wine on the table and pouring Willow a glass. He smiled as he lifted his goblet. "To the future!"
Willow eyed hers for a moment before picking it up. < Why not, Willow! You're considered adult in this time period anyway! > "To the future," she returned and took a sip, surprised to find she actually liked it. In a few hours she would be meeting Angelus in a pub for dinner, but until then she was quite happy to stay here with Spike. They spent the next hour or so toasting the future and finalizing their plans for the next several decades. They had decided to travel Europe for a while, partly because there were so many places that she wanted to see but also to minimize the chances of running into Darla again or affecting the future lives of William the Bloody or Drusilla. What Willow didn't realize, because she was so caught up in their plans and also because her glass never seemed to be empty, was that she had slowly sipped her way through more than a bottle of wine.
Willow rolled over and groaned. Her head was throbbing slightly, and her mouth felt like she had swallowed the pillow. "Ow! So this is what a hangover feels like!" < I am never drinking again! > Abruptly, Willow sat up, "Oh no, I fell asleep!" Looking out the window she could see that it was dark already. She jumped unsteadily out of bed, stumbled to her wash basin, and splashed some cool water on her face, trying to clear away the fog. Suddenly she remembered she was supposed to have met Angel for an early dinner hours ago, and she quickly ran out of her room to find Spike sitting at the table.
He looked up, shocked to see her awake.< Damn, she should have been asleep for hours! That immortality thing must have made her sober up quickly! > "Willow, you look like shit, love. Why don't you go back to bed? Sleep it off," he said, trying very hard to sound nonchalant.
Willow ignored his attempts to distract her, and she closed in on him. "What have you done?" she yelled at Spike. "Why did you let this happen? If Darla arrived in town this morning I need to be with Angelus, otherwise . . ." Willow's voice faded away as her mind came to a screeching halt. < He did this on purpose! Why? > "Oh my God, Angelus . . ." She cast an accusing glance at Spike before she headed for the door, but Spike rushed to block her path.
"You don't want to go out there, love. It's too late now."
"No, it can't be too late! I won't let it be too late," she spat at him. Willow gathered all of her strength and raised her knee into Spike's groin. Spike's face was able to register shock for only a second before the pain hit him and he fell to the floor. Willow fled out the door and headed for the heart of the town as fast as she could run, not wanting to take the time to saddle a horse.
Willow didn't slow until the pain in her side was like a knife, and then she only let her gait fall to a jog. < Why did I trust him? Why did I trust Spike? > repeatedly echoed in her head. Willow was going to look for Angelus in a rougher area of town that she knew he frequented with some of his other friends. When she reached the part of town that she was looking for, Willow began searching the pubs, dark alleyways, and doorways for any sign of Angelus. It was in a dark side street that Willow caught a glimpse of two figures at the other end.
An exquisitely dressed blonde woman was holding a man close to her, but something about it just didn't seem right. Willow walked slowly towards them, barely able to breathe. Then for a brief moment the moon came out from behind a cloud, and she could easily discern the woman's vampiric face, and the man in her arms was none other than Angelus. "No!" she screamed, trying to warn him away. "Angelus, stay away from her!"
Angelus looked up and saw Willow's distressed face just as Darla's facade returned to human form. He looked pleasantly surprised to see her and stepped out of Darla's deadly embrace. "Rose? What are ya doing here and at this time of night?"
"Stay away from her Angelus. She's evil!"
Angelus walked slowly toward her, a confused look on his handsome face. "Darla? Evil? I don't understand." He held his hand out to her, "Rose, I want ya to meet her. I think ya two could become quite close."
"No, you don't understand," Willow said breathlessly, taking a few steps towards him. She reached for his outstretched hand, hoping to be able to lead him away from the beautiful demon.
"Don't go any closer, love." Spike's familiar voice said from behind her. "Like I told you before, it's too late."
Willow didn't turn to look at Spike, unable to take her eyes off of the scene before her. "It can't be too late," her voice a husky whisper. "Angelus," she said louder, pleading. "Please come with me."
Darla moved toward Angelus, keeping her eyes on Willow. Willow couldn't tell by her frozen expression what she was thinking, but she knew she had only seconds to get Angelus to safety.
Willow was about to grab his outstretched hand when she noticed a strange look cross Angelus's face, and it was this slight hesitation that saved her. Her hand flew back to her side, just as Spike put a protective arm around her chest. Due to his inexperience, Angelus was unable to hold back any longer, and he morphed to his all-to-familiar alter ego.
"No!" Willow cried. She watched in horror as his handsome face distorted to the evil thing she remembered all to well. The frightened girl tried to back away only to run into Spike's unmoving form.
Willow slapped at Spike's hands, wanting nothing to do with the vampire who had betrayed her, but his grip on her tightened. "Do you have any idea what you have done?" she whispered at him through gritted teeth, unable to take her eyes of the newly made vampire.
"Angelus," Darla crooned. "Who do we have here? You never told me there was another woman in your life." She glided over to Angelus, slid her arms around his waist and licked his neck. "You also neglected to mention that she has a *friend.* "
"Husband!" Angelus grunted.
"Really," Darla said, surprised. "She doesn't look the type that would marry a vampire. But, you never know. It's always the quiet ones!"
"Vampire?" he growled, confusion making it difficult for him to follow the conversation. As it was, the fledgling vampire was struggling to keep some semblance of control, but her blood was singing to him. Nothing was making sense at the moment, but he didn't care. He wanted to feed.
"Didn't you know? Interesting!" she said studying the girl's face. "But the real question is, why is she still a virgin? No matter, she will be your first. A virgin's blood is especially potent and delicious. Can't you smell it, lover?" she said in his ear, but loud enough for all to hear.
Willow was confused. < Lover? Already? But if he was just turned tonight...? > Scenarios ran through her brain, and then she came to the conclusion that he was probably turned last night, when he was out with his friend. < And Spike knew it all along! >
While Willow was still reeling from the odd twist of fate, Darla continued talking and the two vampires stalked closer to her. "Your first should be special because you will always remember it! Not that *you* would understand that," she leered at Willow.
"Sorry, love," Spike drawled to Darla. "But she is mine, and I will not let this little pup rip her apart. Look at him! He can barely control himself as it is. Disgusting!"
Angelus growled at Spike but Darla soothed him with a caress. "She *will* be my Angelus's first, and you are the one who is disgusting. So attached to a living girl."
Spike ignored the last comment, knowing that it wasn't unheard of for vampires to take human concubines. With a casual glance at Willow he said, "It's not that I mind sharing. I just want to make sure she is still alive afterward, because I am not through with her yet! Tell you what!" he said with mock enthusiasm. "Why don't I start and open her up. Then, rookie here can have his fill, and my little virgin won't be disfigured for what's left of her life. It would be a shame to waste such beauty," he stated as he stroked her cheek and neck with a long, cold finger.
Willow started to panic. She couldn't believe that Spike would do this to her. She struggled frantically against his arms, but he held her tightly. She willed her fright and despair at Angelus's being vamped to turn into loathing, and slowly she felt a spark of hatred for all of them ignite inside of her.
Not waiting for the other vamps to answer, Spike grabbed Willow by the back of her head, pulling it back to expose her neck. "Please," was all she managed to mumble. Spike's eyes met hers momentarily. He could see the fear and hatred burning in them, but Willow was unable to read what she saw in his.< Pity? >
"Don't fight it or you could get hurt," he said quietly before he changed and lowered his fangs to her throat.
Willow closed her eyes when she felt his lips touch her neck. Spike, for the first time since his own changing, tried to be gentle when he broke the skin, but he felt her jerk in pain as the blood began to flow into his mouth. He was unable to control himself and took several swallows of her pure blood before ripping his mouth away. "The rest is yours. Just don't kill her." Spike told Angelus pointedly as he wiped his lips. The blonde vampire was still holding Willow by the back of her head, and he handed her off to Angelus who grabbed her in the same fashion.
Willow felt the world begin to spin, but not because of the small amount of blood that Spike had taken. She had done so much, given up so much, over the past weeks just to suffer in the arms of the man she had tried to save. Spike's warning to the other vampires not to kill her floated around in the back of her mind, but even when it combined with the knowledge that she was supposedly temporarily immortal, it gave her little comfort when she saw the wild look in Angelus's eyes. Willow had never seen him like this, not even when he had lost his soul back in Sunnydale. That Angelus had always been in control, completely aware of his actions, even calculating, but this vampire was totally enslaved by his bloodlust and new-found power.
She looked deep into Angelus's eyes, searching for any sign of the man that she knew, but found nothing familiar. They were cold and piercing, like the eyes of a predatory animal. < Don't think about it Willow. It's not Angelus anymore. It's a demon! > She repeated this mantra over and over again in her mind, letting her anger build and hoping that it would be enough not to let her cry.
"Finally, Rose, our first kiss, and with yer husband's blessin' no less!" Angelus managed coherently, as he eyed his prize hungrily.
Willow struggled unsuccessfully to untangle herself from Angelus, but he only tightened his hold on her. As his angry mouth closed in, she put all of her energy into one last desperate attempt to escape. Remembering one of her 'slayer moves' she rammed her elbow back into what she hoped was his stomach while stomping down on his foot with all her strength. His hold on her loosened momentarily as he growled in pain, and Willow was able to twist away from the arm that encircled her chest. Unfortunately, his fingers were still intertwined in her hair, and with a brutal yank she was back against his chest.
"You are going to regret that, little one," he said with a cruel sneer, and they were the last words Willow heard before his mouth savagely clamped over her still bleeding wounds. Willow slumped in his arms, eyes squeezed tightly shut, as she felt her life being siphoned out of her. Angelus knelt to the ground with the slight girl's body in his arms, completely enraptured by the feeling of his first feed. Willow opened her eyes long enough to send Spike one last condemning look, but her last thoughts were of the people she had let down before she slipped into unconsciousness. < Buffy, Angel . . . I am so sorry. I really messed this whole thing up. . . . >
Spike watched intently as Willow and Angelus sank to the ground. His eyes were locked on Willow's paling face, ready to intervene at the moment it looked like the other vampire was taking too much. There was an aching in his gut that he tried to ignore. It wasn't that he felt bad about lying to Willow because he felt he had no choice, and he definitely didn't have any guilt over Angelus's being vamped, but the scene before him made Spike disgusted with himself. To pass her around like she was the only prostitute at a bachelor party was degrading. But here he was, whoring her out like she was a common blood slut. Of course, it wasn't unknown for vampires to use the same human many times for blood. Usually these women, or men, received some sexual gratification from the act, but to offer her to another vampire against her will? It was disgraceful, and to the victim it was only slightly less degrading than rape. Willow deserved better, and for the first time in over a century, Spike felt guilt. < I should have tied her up and locked her in her room or got her out of town while she was still asleep! > He just hoped that Willow would give him a chance to explain.
When Willow's skin began to take on a bluish caste, Spike leapt at them and delivered a swift kick to Angelus's head, causing him to fall to the ground. Angelus jumped to his feet ready to kill the older vampire only to find that he had already scooped Willow into his arms. "I told you not to kill her, you cocky little wanker." Darla hurried to Angelus's side, ready to restrain him from getting into a fight that he was not yet ready for.
Spike took one last look at the couple. "Darla, you better house train your new pet and teach him some manners, or he is going to end up with my fangs for a collar!" With that he started back toward their house, then he added over his shoulder. "I'm sure we will be seeing each other again."
Willow's eyes fluttered open and she was immediately assaulted by memories of the night before. Tears slowly began sliding down her cheeks as she remembered how he had looked at her last night. He was a cold killer now with no memories of his feelings for her and wanting nothing more than to drain her of her very existence. She reminded herself that it wasn't her Angelus, just as the evil thing that had tried to kill her in Sunnydale was not Buffy's Angel. < Oh God, Buffy. How did you survive this? It hurts so much! > Slowly, she dried away her tears, telling herself that she didn't have time to feel sorry for herself. Not now anyway. There would be plenty of time for that later. And as she thought back again to everything that had happened last night, she forgot about her aching body and her feelings for Angelus and felt her temper begin to rise. How could Spike do that to her? Not only did he betray her, and go back on his word, but to let Angelus feed from her. < Heck! He even helped! >
The young redhead crept silently to the door, trying to figure out where Spike was in the house without letting him know she was awake. She was sure that he would be waiting for her to wake up to offer some sort of explanation, but she did not want to hear it; she did not want to forgive him for this.
Looking out the window at the sun high in the sky, Willow finally decided that she couldn't wait any she longer. She would have to get out now. At first she toyed with the idea of just slipping out the window, but there were things she needed first. So, she quietly grabbed some clothes and things, only taking what she could fit in one bag. Holding it tightly, she peeked out her room and breathed a sigh of relief when she didn't immediately see Spike.
Tiptoeing out of her room, she quickly went to the kitchen and took all the money and jewelry that they had hidden in the flour crock. Willow took one last look around the cottage that had been her home for the past couple of months and was just about to slip out the front door when Spike came charging out of his room.
"You're awake, I see," Spike stated, trying to judge her mood.
"No thanks to you," she said accusingly while sidling towards the door.
Spike suddenly spotted the bag in her hand and realized that she was planning on carrying out her threat to leave. "Willow, where do you think you are going?" he asked as he began moving toward her. His hands were held up in a show of truce, "Come on love, white flag here. Let's talk about it."
Willow cast a wary eye between Spike and the door and wondered if she would be able to beat Spike to it. She bolted for the door just as Spike sprang into action. Willow grabbed the handle as he lunged for her, and she was able to throw it open. Sunlight streamed in, missing the vampire by mere inches and effectively blocking his path to Willow. She took one step through the door and turned back to Spike, safe in the warmth of the sun. She stared at the man, no the vampire, that she had just begun to consider her friend, but now could only think of as the man who had betrayed her.
"Just tell me why, Spike. Why did you pretend that you were going to let him live when the whole time you knew you were going to let Darla have him? That was your plan all along, wasn't it?" the petite redhead said from the doorway, the killing sunlight highlighting her hair to a glowing mass to the vampire.
"Damn it, Willow! Come back in and shut the door. I can explain." Spike tried to remain calm, but it was beginning to dawn on him that Willow might actually leave him.
"Explain what? Explain why you have lied to me for the past two months? Or why...why you not only bit me, but then offered me to the rest of this town's vampire population as if I were some kind of sick hors d'oeuvre?" the girl demanded, with growing fury.
Spike groaned in exasperation. "As far as feeding from you, that is your own fault. Why the hell do you think I got you drunk? I wanted you to stay here. Where it was safe. But, no! You had to go and risk everything for your precious Angel, didn't you? You are damn lucky I was there. Angelus probably would have ripped you to shreds. Remember, we don't have a much control in the beginning, so by my feeding from you first, I made sure he didn't hurt you.< And I marked you as my territory as well! >
"Ha! So I should be thanking you then? I'm not thinking so! You betrayed me, you lied to me, and then you used me and passed me around like cheap bottle of wine! As far as I am concerned, what you did to me was worse than anything Angelus could ever have done! "
"Willow, I didn't have a choice! I did not go through all of this, just to take chances in order to save Angel. I want Drusilla back, and if it means I have to drain this entire town of every last bit of blood, then that is what I will bloody-well do. Angel is the one that found her, and Angel is the one that made her the woman I love." Spike was beginning to lose the thin hold he had on his temper as he paced back in forth, just on the edge of the sunlight. "I need that pillock, for now, but I *will* kill him after I am sure that I have the Drusilla that I fell in love with!"
Willow felt herself go cold, as the depths of his deception finally struck home. "God, you're pathetic! I should have killed you when I had the chance. If Drusilla could see you now she would probably kill you herself. Or...or leave you for a real 'demon,' like Angel."
Spike's face jerked back up to meet hers, and it was obvious to Willow that her last comment had met its mark. "Don't tell me what Drusilla would do! You don't even know her! You couldn't even begin to understand the depths of our love!" He was yelling at her now, and it took every last ounce of control not to put on his game face.
"Love?" Her contempt for the blonde vampire was growing exponentially. "You don't even know what love is." Her anger was giving her courage and an unusual clarity of thought. "You're just scared to be alone, to stand on your own two feet. You are so weak that you would kill yourself rather than be alone. That isn't love, Spike. All that is, is a pitiful obsession!"
Spike was stunned, unable to find the words to defend himself.
Willow turned around and took a few more steps onto the porch before looking over her shoulder one last time. "Stick to the time line and don't look for me. I'll find you when and *if* I'm ready!"
"Willow!" Spike yelled after her, finally finding his voice. She never looked back.